According to a report published this evening, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler allegedly failed to report to authorities an incident involving a pair of minor league prospects in which an underage girl was assaulted while Kapler was with the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2015.
The piece by Will Hobson, Christian Red and Teri Thompson with contributions by Julie Tate for The Washington Post states that Kapler was informed of the situation by both the 17-year-old female victim and the girl’s grandmother.
Kapler was the director of player development for the Dodgers at the time. The girl reportedly related that she had been drinking and dancing with two Dodgers prospects and two other women, one of whom she believed was the girlfriend of one of the players, while in the players hotel room near the Dodgers spring training complex.
The girl stated that she consumed about a half-bottle of wine and then the following occurred, according to the article: “she vomited on the bed, angering the two women, who threw her out of the room, kicking and punching her in the process. Rather than come to her aid…one of the Dodgers players videotaped the beating on his phone, and then posted the video on Snapchat.”
In her email to Kapler, the girl reportedly wrote the following:
“The boys (players) got me drunk and the girls beat me up. Your player . . . videotaped it all.”
Kapler reportedly phoned the grandmother, apologized, and offered the girl help in the form of food, a place to stay, even money for a doctor.
Kapler also offered to arrange a dinner meeting between himself, the two players involved, the grandmother, and the girl. After the grandmother balked at this suggestion, Kapler responded:
“This dinner is our initiative. We will ensure [the girl’s] safety. We believe we can teach valuable lessons to all involved through this method of follow up.”
When told of an assault allegation in 2015, Gabe Kapler, then director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, did not contact police, records show.
Instead, Kapler tried to arrange a dinner with the girl and the players. https://t.co/kqX4UlYjWv
— Post Sports (@PostSports) February 1, 2019
It is alleged that Kapler did not alert law enforcement authorities. The following week, a case manager with the Arizona Department of Child Safety contacted law enforcement. When officers interviewed the girl, she stated that she had also been sexually assaulted by one of the players while in a nearly unconscious state.
Glendale police opened an investigation, but reportedly were stymied by both a lawyer hired by the Dodgers to represent one of the players and by the failure of the young girl, who they suspected was a victim of human trafficking, to cooperate further. No formal charges have ever been filed in the case.
The article goes on to state that the involved player was released in April 2015 and then played one more season in the minors before ending his playing career.
David Derickson, the attorney hired to represent the unnamed player alleged in the original police report to have committed the sexual assault, was quoted by the Post writers: “That was something that happened a number of years ago, and I felt we did what we needed to do to clear up whether or not there would be any charges.”
For his part, Kapler states that he was not made aware of the alleged sexual assault during those initial conversations and emails with the girl or the grandmother. According to the article he “said his actions were in line with club policy and advice offered by Dodgers’ lawyers and human resources personnel.”
The article goes on to say that in a statement this week, Kapler stated “There was never an offer for money of any sort nor any payments considered or made.”
This was not the only such incident that Kapler had to deal with that year. Another Dodgers minor leaguer was accused of harassing and then sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper during 2015.
In response to that incident, Adam Rawnsley at The Daily Beast reported that Kapler met with the manager of the Hampton Inn. He then emailed Dodgers officials and per Rawnsley wrote: “…his report made me feel embarrassed for our organization. I assured him that we’d address the situation swiftly and that this would not be an issue going forward.”
While it remains unclear exactly how much Kapler may have been informed regarding the incident involving the earlier underage girl, there certainly are troubling issues here. It would appear at the very least that law enforcement should have been notified immediately. This is especially so if there was any idea that the young woman involved was a minor.
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